An exciting weekend at the CP Palm Beach Masters CSI3*-W concluded on Sunday by challenging 40 of the world's top riders in the grand finale: the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington CSI3*-W, presented by SOVARO®. At just 26 years old, Egypt's Nayel Nassar bested the field of international veterans to run away with the win aboard his longtime partner, Lordan (Lordanos x Landor).
"Honestly, it doesn't get much better than this," Nassar said. "I didn't expect to win, being my first show of the year, but Lordan is such an incredible trier, and I know him like the back of my hand at this point. In the jump-off, I just let it rip, and he answered the questions. He's such an incredible partner; I've had him for so long that I just feel blessed any time I get to go into the ring with him."
Only 10 of 40 horse-and-rider combinations successfully navigated Alan Wade and Nigel Jess' first round track, which was set at 1.60m in height, to advance to the jump-off, where Nassar earned the win with a blazing fast time of 38.15 seconds.
Wade said of his course on Sunday, "I thought it was great sport this afternoon. The material and the ground that I had to work with allowed me to create something great. I think today we saw thrills and spills, we saw excitement and we saw the skill of the athletes and top horses. That's why I love show jumping so much."
"I thought [the course] was tough," Nassar said. "When I walked it, I thought it was quite difficult. It was not so great for my horse because there were not too many places where I could add [a stride]. I just caught a nice distance to the triple bar. I didn't want to get hands-y early on in the course, just like Laura [Kraut] has taught me. I just rode up to the first couple of lines and then had him in a rhythm and set him on his hind end for the rest of the way. He was amazing."
Finishing in second after the difficult jump-off was Nassar's former teacher, the USA's Laura Kraut and Zeremonie (Cero II x Quick Star), owned by Old Willow Farms LLC. Kraut, who trained Nassar back in 2012, finished hot on her former student's heels with her time of 39.92 seconds.
"I really tried to catch Nayel," Kraut laughed. "I even got to see him go, and I couldn't beat him. I think he is one of the most talented young riders to come along in a while. It's no surprise he's sitting where he is."
Kraut continued, "Thank you to the Jacobs for giving this opportunity to us to jump on the best footing in the world. We jump in Spain and in Italy on some fantastic surfaces, and this is no different. Alan Wade, I couldn't believe the way the courses were built, and when you rode in, you hardly saw a hoofprint. It was just miraculous how well it jumped."
Sergio Alvarez Moya of Spain rode his own Arrayan (Baloubet du Rouet x Grannus) across the wire in a time of 39.95 seconds, settling for the third place spot after Nassar followed immediately in the order to steal his lead.
"I was very happy with the way my horse jumped," Moya said. "I want to congratulate my buddies here; they did a great job. It's my first time here, and it's a pleasure for me to do so well in this beautiful ring."
Rounding out the remainder of the top five after the jump-off were Adrienne Sternlicht and Cristalline (Cristallo I x Caretello B), owned by Starlight Farms 1 LLC. The duo delivered the first double-clear round of the day, eventually finishing strongly in fourth place with a time of 41.64 seconds.
Wilton Porter and Sleepy P Ranch LLC's Caletto Cabana (Cassini I x Capecanaveral) turned in the final double-clear effort of the afternoon, completing the course in 44.89 seconds to secure the fifth place spot.
A total of 14 athletes from the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League will qualify for the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals, which will take place this year in North America on March 29-April 2 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The top seven athletes from the East Coast sub-league and top three from the West Coast sub-league, and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico, will qualify for the final, alongside winners from 14 other leagues around the world.
Following Sunday's CSI3*-W grand prix at the Palm Beach Masters, Kraut currently sits in second in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American Eastern Sub-League, while Nassar sits in the number one spot in the North American Western Sub-League.
To conclude this year's CP Palm Beach Masters, co-founder Louis Jacobs, along with siblings Charlie Jacobs and Katie Jacobs-Robinson, delivered a few remarks.
"From my perspective, it was just a terrific weekend," Lou said. "We've got 1,000 little things that we want to improve upon for next year; we're very much a work in progress. We're delighted to be able to host a World Cup qualifier. We thought this was an opportunity to give back to the sport that's given us so many great times over the years. The family has rallied behind the event, and we're really delighted with where we are today."
Katie added, "It has been a labor of love for us as a family. We're so proud of the event that we put on. Really, an event like this doesn't happen without the support of our sponsors, and most importantly, the competitors. They did such a great job today. It was a fantastic class."
In addition, Sunday's winner, Nassar, was also the lucky recipient of a custom, exclusive Gold Edition horizontal tack trunk, complete with beautiful, exterior Palm Beach Masters graphics, courtesy of Top Jock Tack Boxes and founder, Joe Moran. Top Jock Tack Boxes is the world's leading provider of completely customizable, handmade tack boxes and luxury barn accessories and specializes in offering a wide range of products, from horizontal trunks to vertical lockers, grooming boxes, saddle racks and more, all of which are durable, weatherproof and beautifully crafted to each customer's individual needs. Nassar also took home a SOVARO® cooler and a custom pair of spurs and stirrups from ColorTack.
During the opening ceremonies of Sunday's main event in the Hollow Brook Wealth Management Grand Prix Field at the CP Palm Beach Masters, Mavis Spencer was awarded the M. Michael Meller Style Award Perpetual Trophy.
During its inaugural year at the CP Wellington Masters in 2016, the award was presented to the late Andres Rodriguez of Venezuela. Rodriguez, fondly known as "Chepito," passed away in a tragic car accident in January 2016. The 2015 individual silver medalist from the Pan American Games was a true supporter of equestrian sport and embodied this award. He loved show jumping and all that knew him felt his enthusiasm. A team player, he was fun-loving and always supportive with his competitors. The M. Michael Meller Style Award Perpetual Trophy will continue to be presented each year in honor of Rodriguez to a rider that exemplifies his style and sportsmanship, so that "Chepito's" memory can live on in the sport.
On behalf of The Book LLC and the CP Palm Beach Masters, all exhibitors will be able to download photos taken throughout the event for FREE. Visit www.thebookllc.com to view more of their amazing photos now!
Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group / Photos (c) Taylor Renner and Lauren Baker.
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